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Pregnant in 22 months... AIBU?

(25 Posts)
TrillKitten Fri 04-Mar-16 12:04:23

I'm about to turn 32. I have limited blood-family contact but I have a great support network of chosen-family who cover a range of genders, backgrounds and experiences. I have people within that I am incredibly close to and have life long commitments to but for the purposes of this discussion I am basically single and considering becoming a single mother by choice.

I have accrued quite a bit of debt in my life, living alone is expensive and I self-funded my postgrad education and whilst I now have a socially-good job, it lies within the mental health field and isn't as financially-good as it ought to be. To add to this, cuts have drastically effected the hours I can get. I also rent my apartment. I have no savings. I am physically healthy, but have had periods of time where my mental health has been poor.

On paper I am 'single, broke, living alone, and renting in one of the most expensive cities in the world', in practise I've got more going for me than that, but it doesn't feel like enough sometimes... I have decided to work as hard as possible to get out of debt, to get some savings so whilst I cannot possibly get a mortgage I could ensure I had enough money to fund a move should my landlady decide to stop renting me my current place (been here 3yrs). I have mentally given myself 22 months to go from here to (not-irresponsibly) pregnant. Mumsnet - AIBU?!

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 12:07:15

It's great that you have a plan and are starting to work towards being debt free before doing it.

I am not saying people in debt should have kids. But it makes its easier. Especially if you are alone.

While sorting your money also look at mat leave pay (will you also need to save) and childcare costs after having the baby.

It's great that you are saving incase of having to move. It's something I never did when I rented, I should have.

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 12:08:49

Oh and I can't say Yabu or Yanbu. It's very personal thanks

trulybadlydeeply Fri 04-Mar-16 12:18:32

TBH, it sounds like you have done a great deal more thinking and planning than many people who are in LTR and decide to have a baby, so if this is what you want, YANBU at all. Good luck!

meatliqour Fri 04-Mar-16 12:23:36

Single parent by choice here. Never been happier!

TrillKitten Fri 04-Mar-16 12:30:38

K, TBD, ML - thank you!
This is my first thread here and I wasn't sure anyone would answer or whether any replies would just be really negative! My experience of speaking about my desire to parent (outside of the MN bubble!) is limited. I'm a bit scared to start telling people this is my plan as I am dreading having them laugh in my face, or meeting a "you're not THAT old, wait and you'll totally find a man 'in time'" kind of attitude or, worse, a sort of "better to have a not-perfect husband than none at all' attitude so, honestly, even having this being heard and taken seriously is enough to have made me to a small cry of relief! Maybe it is possible?!
Thank you.

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 12:34:48

Of course it's possible. People are single parents for all sorts of reasons. I would say doing it by choice is better than having it thrust upon you.

Maybe not better but easier. It's not a choice I would make. I have never been desperate to be a parent. But that's not right for everyone.

You may get some of those response in RL. But so what?

Also think about what happens to work if your child is ill etc. That can be difficult when you can't share the leave with someone else.

But you sound sensible and like you have really thought this through. thanks

INeedNewShoes Fri 04-Mar-16 12:49:18

I've just started IUI to try and become a 'single mother by choice' (not terribly keen on that phrase but heigh-ho).

My situation sounds slightly more financially workable than yours, but only slightly. I own a house with a mortgage which is 5x salary, but the repayments are affordable and the house is perfect for bringing up a family in. I also have debt (£3000ish) which I am working like mad to clear on top of making sure I earn enough to fund fertility treatment.

I started my own freelance business a year ago to try and ensure I have work lined up which I can do around looking after my child. This bit (a means of income that works around looking after a child) is important if, like me, you won't have any free childcare available in the form of family helping out regularly.

Like it or not, other people play an important part in our choice to go it alone. I wouldn't be comfortable doing this if I didn't know that the vast majority of my friends and family are fully supportive. I will need their support (I'm not talking free childcare though!) if I manage to have a baby and my child will need good role models who are positive and happy about how the child came about as I plan to be entirely honest from the outset. And fertility treatment is hard work so I'm also making good use of my support network for this phase of the proceedings where emotional support is useful.

I spent a year pondering this course of action, then started researching clinics, methods etc. This time last year I started talking to friends and family about it purely to gauge reaction. I was thoroughly bowled over by the positive response I got (aside from one good friend and one aunt & uncle who aren't entirely comfortable with it - not bad out of the thirty or so people I've brought into the loop)!.

I could witter about various elements of this topic, but I'll stop here for now. Feel free to pm me if you want to chat in person. I'm guessing you're in London? I'm in London once a week for work and would be happy to meet up to chat if that would be helpful.

BaskingTrout Fri 04-Mar-16 12:52:33

thing is though, lots of people end up as single parents for many different reasons. choosing to be one means you will have weighed up the pros and cons beforehand rather than not having any choice in it.

sorry if this is too personal a question, and feel free not to answer it, but will you have to pay for ivf or other treatment in order to get pregnant, on top of saving to clear your debts? I just ask because seeing as you are still quite young, maybe you would be better giving yourself slightly longer to do it.

Osirus Fri 04-Mar-16 12:55:20

I'm currently pregnant and could not imagine doing this on my own. Fertility treatment is hard (I had IVF) and you will need support. However, we are all individuals and you sound very sensible and you have obviously thought hard about this. Good luck and I hope it works out for you.

TrillKitten Fri 04-Mar-16 12:57:08

INNS wow, thank you. That is unbelievably kind and really useful advice. I would love to take you up on that offer. I might give myself a while before I PM, but if you're not averse to a shy message from me popping up in about a fortnight that would be ideal!

Out of interest, do you have a preferred term? I am not 100% comfortable with SMBC either but i'd seen it used a lot and feel the "by choice" part is important to me. Would be interested to hear your thoughts become aware of other commonly used terms. Words are so powerful, and the labels we use for ourself even more so.

queenofthepirates Fri 04-Mar-16 13:02:42

Single mum by choice here too! It's not really that hard TBH, you just muddle through. I run my own business (set up during mat leave) so I can work my own hours whilst DD is at school. It's very rewarding and very much fun so I'd say go for it! Getting debt free is a good idea though, kids are pricey.

TrillKitten Fri 04-Mar-16 13:04:13

BT, not at all a problem to ask smile At the moment I am not 100% sure.. I think I probably know men who would understand and are in circumstances that mean they could be willing to 'do it the old fashioned way' but I am terrified of the lack of legal protections in those situations.
All I am 100% certain of is it would need to be done with informed consent by all/any involved parties and I would want any decisions and rights to be legally protected from the outset.

Osirus, thank you for your honesty. I do also worry that no one will be titally truthful about how hard it was/is for them and I do wonder how I personally might manage living alone while heavily pregnant. Sometimes I think I could probably get a friend to move in for the last month or so.. but again, where do you draw the line? Would they stay for the first week after birth too? And then what? Etc. it's important to me to hear people speak from their own experiences and I really do want to hear from people who did/would and those who haven't/wouldn't so thank you again. smile

TrillKitten Fri 04-Mar-16 13:13:28

QOTP Yeah, I have been thinking a lot about what self-employed / private work I could do. I was thinking of branching out to offer psychotherapy sessions over Skype on my slack days for extra cash to help clear my debt but these require me to have 50 mins at a time where I can focus solely on another human via a screen.. so while great for now, and maybe something I could continue during maternity leave, it's not exactly something I think I could do with a tinysmall person in tow!! I'll maybe use this time to think of other things I could do for a small source of additional income, things that are less demanding of my entire-attention-with-no-interruptions! So thank you. Your words are really heartening and helpful. I've been in a number of odd situations and, yeah, every time you do just figure it out, you make it work.. I guess this in some ways is the same. I reckon I could muddle through too! smile

INeedNewShoes Fri 04-Mar-16 13:34:54

Trill feel free to PM whenever it takes your fancy. It's important you form your own opinions on the way you might do things before taking on too much advice/opinions from others.

I, like you, have a few good male friends who I could have asked to help me out but I've realised that for the sake of saving an amount of money that isn't huge (in the grand scheme of things), it feels more comfortable for me to do everything through a clinic using a sperm donor who won't have any rights over the child. I'd rather reserve my male friends to be good role models and not risk a good friendship becoming awkward.

But, there are plenty of women who go down the route of a 'known donor' (basically a friend who supplies sperm either naturally or for insemination) and this setup works for them.

As for labels, I have no idea what we can call ourselves. I just wouldn't say it's 100% by choice as it's 50/50 circumstances vs. choice! My first 'choice' would have been to meet a lovely man with whom I could have had a baby as a team. Having said that, I am so comfortable with my plans now that it does feel like a positive choice to go it alone. We can try some other labels for fit as this thread progresses!

INeedNewShoes Fri 04-Mar-16 13:38:46

Oh, and there's a busy thread on Donor IUI running here:

though the chat has a tendency to stray away from the main topic quite a bit, so I don't recommended reading the full thread start to finish!

LoopiusMaximus Fri 04-Mar-16 13:42:25

Op I really admire you. I know that if Id have got to a certain age and found myself without children then I wouldve 100% done what you're thinking of doing. I longed for a child for many years before we conceived.

I know that having children is a blessing not a right but I also know that I'd have done ANYTHING to become a mother.

If everyone waited until they're financially secure with their own homes then there would be a lot of childless people in life. I'm 26 and it took us over a year to conceive which felt like a lifetime at the time. Our second came along 3 months after the first was born (surprise).

We are however fortunate to have secure jobs, a mortgage and no debts but that could easily all change in the blink of an eye.

Ps- as for being a single parent - lots are, through no choice of their own and do a wonderful job of being mum and dad. My darling nan was a widow at 38 with 5 young children, my dh has never known his dad but has a fantastic mum. Lastly, a good friend and her female partner conceived via sperm donor online (all very legit). Her partner left her before baby was one years old.

Pps - I echo what others have said regarding childcare. Research this and have a 'foolproof' plan if you do decide to return to work. My childcare was my dm who backed out the week I started back at work after maternity leave, leaving me no choice but to hand my notice in as nurseries would be been far too costly for us. My dh works in the day and I now have a nighttime job. We never ask family to babysit nor do they offer but our children are our responsibility. You'll manage and having just one reliable family member can make all the difference.

Good luck & do let us know what you decide.

TrillKitten Sun 15-May-16 16:20:25

Hey again everyone, just want to thank you all so much for your advice and support! Just wanted to be sure to check in every so often as I hate it when people disappear and you're like What happened though?! smile

I have started this journey.. Am switching jobs to a post with better maternity options, I am coming off hormonal contraception (been on one form or other since 15yrs so excited to see for the first time in my life what a "normal cycle" is for me!!) and tracking this with the help of the fertility clinic.

Hopefully we'll get six months predictable data before we begin. It could take a few months for my body to settle into a pattern - so it's possible it could take 8-12 months to achieve a consistent 6mths, but when that happens we're basically good to go! Within this 8-12 months I have to have a bunch of tests and save as much money as I can but 20 months from now I very much could be pregnant!

MoonriseKingdom Sun 15-May-16 17:01:25

Good luck - hope it all goes well. It's something I seriously thought about but then met my now DH before I had set out on that road. flowers

puglife15 Sun 15-May-16 17:10:10

Good for you.i think it's a courageous decision you've clearly thought about a pot.

Have you thought about what you would do if you met a new partner in the next few months? Just curious really.

bellybuttonfairy Sun 15-May-16 17:13:10

Having a baby will be an amazing thing. I just thought I would let you know some negatives (as unfortunately there are).

Financially - you are going to be much worse off. Even if you are working the same hours - there will be childcare.

Your old mental health issues may resurface - especially in the postnatal period. It's a vulnerable time, physically as well as emotionally. It can also be an isolating experience for some people.

If there is no family support - you will have no time to yourself whatsoever. Until they go to school.

You will feel like you are juggling (sometimes too much).

I'm not writing this to put you completely off. The benefits do out way the negatives.

It's just stuff to consider.

TrillKitten Sun 15-May-16 17:15:37

puglife15 I think that's pretty unlikely hence arriving at the juncture I have, but yeah I've thought about it. I'd happily date someone if they bounded onto the scene and seemed awesome etc, but after some soul searching I think wouldn't put these plans on hold or involve them in these plans. They'd be parallel activities and I'd obviously be totally transparent with that person, but to put these plans on hold and have that relationship not work out would risk leaving me resentful, iyswim?

puglife15 Sun 15-May-16 17:25:14

Yes that makes sense. Hopefully someone open minded would be on board with that.

Bellybutton makes some good points too - it's brilliant but my god it's relentless work. You'll need friends with same age kids and friends with no kids who live v nearby and are willing to help ideally.

TrillKitten Sun 15-May-16 17:34:51

bellybuttonfairy thank you, I appreciate both the reality check and the fact you're not trying to put me off. I've answered in full because it is useful to me to do so more than because I think you need/want my answers, if you see what I mean! smile

Financially, yeah, it's going to be rough. But isn't it a lot better to plan financially now for being a 1 income household and maybe along the line become a 2-income household? Lots of people start off with two incomes and drop to one through redundancies, divorce or bereavement and they don't have the luxury of having planned for that.

Re my MH issues. It's a worry.. but I guess 'better the devil you know'? PP depression etc can affect anyone .. at least I'll know what to look for and can talk to my healthcare providers about it now so we can all be aware?

I think saying "there is no family support" isn't necessarily true. I understand the people around wont be my child's biological parent, or my spouse/domestic partner, but I am very confident I have a full support network of people within walking distance or 10 mins drive from my house who would afford me help to make sure I did get the odd hour off, a quiet bath, or an afternoon nap etc. I have friends with young kids now who will be toddlers by the time this process bears out, and have a couple of other people who are willing to do regular nights here as well, and my mum - who I've since told about this plan - who is willing to be around as much as necessary, particularly in case in the hypothetical future I have a rough birth or CS and am not super mobile in the first months.

I guess I'm saying it's not perfect. That's why I listed all this in my first post, because I am aware it's not ideal. It's kinda the "Plan B" version.. But I have these plans in place and I guess I was wondering if they were enough.. and the fact is - in the months since my first post - I have had enough conversations with folk here that I am increasingly certain they are smile

bellybuttonfairy Mon 16-May-16 00:30:12

Aw - you sound lovely. The simple thing is- you just want to be a mum.

It sounds like you have all basis covered.

Too many people in this world have plenty finances/support etc but unfortunately aren't great parents. Children need kind, loving parents.

I wish you all the luck to start your new chapter! x

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